A little while ago, I posted a snippet of a conversation between myself and A1 – because it’s one I wanted to remember. And even though you think you’ll remember all the cute things they say and do forever, you don’t. Most of you who read it, saw what it was about and even may have had a good giggle about it. I say most of you, because obviously there was someone who didn’t see the innocent, funny side….
A conversation with A1 earlier today:
A1: Mom, when I’m big, will you die?
Me: Yes my baby, but only when you’re old and I am very old.
A1: Oh. But then I’ll be here all alone?
Me: No my love, you’ll have a wife and children of your own so you won’t be alone.
A1: Oh okay. But can she make tea…?
Then this morning, after barely waking up and still checking out my emails with only my right eye focusing on the teeny tiny screen of my Blackberry, I read the following comment pending for that post:
I’m curious – why would you make him a promise you can’t necessarily keep? Promising him that you will only die when you are both old? What if life doesn’t go that way? I know a 5 year old whose parents both got killed when they were struck by a train. How would she have felt if her mum promised her she was not going to die until they were both old? I know a 3 year old who died after having cancer – how would the siblings have felt if the mum lied to the kids and said they will all be well and alive until they are all old? My daughter had a friend at daycare who suddenly passed away at the age of 4. This little girl was part of a twin. It was unexpected. I would imagine that if the mum ever promised the kids the family would only die when they are all old, the little boy who lost his twin sister would have felt betrayed and lied to – and rightfully so.
Personally I believe you can’t say something like that. Sure we all hope that we will all live long lives, but life does not always work this way. Parents owe it to their children to be as honest as possible. – Mary Smith (There’s an email address available upon request, no web address to link back to.)
Wow lady, seriously? Let me begin by saying I thoroughly enjoyed the overwhelming sense of positivity in your comment. Normally I wouldn’t feel the need to justify myself to a complete stranger, but in this case I’ll make an exception. You don’t know me or my parenting style, so Personally I believe you can’t have an opinion on the way I raise my children, but in order to help you sleep better at night, let’s analyze the conversation and look at it from a few angles…
The main focus of the whole conversation was not about death and dying, but about who is going to make him his tea, a VERY important part of his life at the moment. But we’ll look at the death bit, because obviously it upset you greatly:
- A1 is THREE years old
- I live in hope (Hope is a belief in a positive outcome related to events and circumstances in one’s life. Hope is the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best. — en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hope) that all of us will live long, full lives, so why not share that hope with my child?
- Remember, he is THREE years old, so why burden him with a worry that Mommy or Daddy or his Baby may die tomorrow? Why let him agonise over something that may or may not happen, in the near future or one day when we’re very old, when he barely grasps the concept of death?
- Do you believe this was our first and last and only conversation about death?
- A1 is fortunate enough to have both parents, both sets of grandparents and two great grandmothers and a great grandfather on the maternal side, so logically, in his world, people have many birthdays and they get old. Very old.
- I never *promised* him we’ll live to be old. I used information that would make logical sense in his world.
- Should someone in his life (family or friend) pass away unexpectedly, we will deal with it in an age appropriate manner. I will guide him through the process of dealing with the loss in a way that will comfort him and make him understand that sometimes these things happen even though you don’t want them to.
So, Mary Smith, let me ask you this: Did your daughter at 4 think/believe/fear that you, her mommy, will die the next day? How did she cope with that? Are/Were you so truthful with your children growing up that they were faced with the harsh reality that Santa/The Easter Bunny/The Tooth Fairy doesn’t ACTUALLY exist? Did you never read your daughter fairy tales when she was little, because honestly, that’s not how life works?
I’m glad you’re not my mother and I’m glad I’m not a mother like you….